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Despite need to rebuild defensive line, Redskins cut Ricky Jean-Francois

Despite need to rebuild defensive line, Redskins cut Ricky Jean-Francois

The Redskins need to rebuild their defensive line, but few expected that would mean cutting players already on the squad. Exactly that happened Wednesday when the team released veteran Ricky Jean-François. 

News of François' release brings some surprise as the veteran played well in more than 400 snaps last season. Pro Football Focus rated the 30-year-old with a 4.6 overall positive rating and even stronger against the run. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk first reported the news. 

Only in Washington for two seasons, François started eight games for the 'Skins and totalled 31 tackles and 3.5 sacks. By releasing François, the Redskins save $3 million towards the 2017 salary cap, money that maybe could be dedicated to another player. 

A strong locker room presence, François was never shy about voicing his opinions. In recent weeks, his Twitter account became a frequent mystery, as it seemed the defensive tackle was questioning the Redskins offseason moves. Then, after the news of Scot McCloughan's firing, François openly criticized the team in a radio interview for the decision, saying the Redskins were headed back to "the drama."

By openly questioning the team, perhaps François opened the door for his release. At the same time, it's possible the Redskins brass saw a defensive tackle set to turn 31 in November and decided to take the cap savings. 

Regardless, this leaves the Redskins without their two best defensive linemen from the 2016 season. Chris Baker signed with the Bucs early in free agency, and François will likely sign elsewhere before too long. Washington has brought in new players in Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee, though their track records will not elicit too much excitement from fans. 

Impact help on the defensive line remains available in free agency, Johnathan Hankins and Dontari Poe stand out. The Redskins likely had enough room under the cap to work a deal for either player, but François release frees up even more cash.

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Report: Despite off-field turmoil, NFL close to extension with commissioner Roger Goodell

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USA Today Sports

Report: Despite off-field turmoil, NFL close to extension with commissioner Roger Goodell

Despite off-field turmoil and a seemingly endless list of controversies, the NFL plans to extend the tenure of commissioner Roger Goodell, per a report from the NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. 

Goodell took over the top NFL job in 2006, replacing the long-tenured Paul Tagliabue. The extension reportedly will extend his era as commissioner through 2024, though Garafolo said the league and Goodell have a few "minor issues" to work through. In 2016, Goodell reportedly made $34 million as commissioner. 

Under Goodell, the league has seen a windfall of cash, but also numerous off-field controversies. The commissioner's role with player punishments has dramatically increased, and seems to grow more litigous year after year. Things seemed to hit their peak when the NFL suspended New England Patriots QB Tom Brady four games for possibly deflating footballs, though the evidence was far from concrete.

There have been plenty of other major controversies during Goodell's leadership: the ongoing concussion lawsuits and settlements, Ray Rice's domestic violence incident, Michael Vick's dog-fighting ring, Ben Roethlisberger's sexual assault allegations, and more. 

This year - right now - Goodell is in the middle of dealing with an announced six-game suspension of Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott and the ongoing controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick's inability to land a job in the NFL. 

Ultimately, it appears cash matters most for the league and its commissioner. 

It's also worth adding that the NFL has not lost any games due to labor stoppage under Goodell's leadership. That could change, however, when the next collective bargaining agreement comes up after the 2020 season. NFL Player's Association leader DeMaurice Smith has talked of a possible strike or lockout, and some vocal critics of Goodell and the NFL, like Richard Sherman, have said that the players need to be prepared to strike to elicit actual change. 

There was some speculation that NFL owners, particularly Robert Kraft in New England and Jerry Jones in Dallas, might push for a change at the top as Goodell's autocratic disciplinary style found league stars suspended. Assuming a contract gets done, that speculation appears to be false. 

Goodell was commissioner in 2012 when the NFL penalized the Redskins $36 million against the salary cap for overspending during the uncapped 2010 season. Redskins officials adamantly denied any wrongdoing, and the penalties had a significant impact on the team's ability to compete for free agents and roster depth. 

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After rookie jitters in Week 1, things are slowing down for Samaje Perine

After rookie jitters in Week 1, things are slowing down for Samaje Perine

Samaje Perine's highlight reel will not feature many clips from his first preseason game. The rookie running back out of Oklahoma struggled in that game, rushing six times for just 15 yards. 

In his second game, however, Perine found his game. Playing with the second team offense, Perine looked strong. He ran eight times for 45 yards, more than 5.5 yards-per-carry, and also caught one pass for 29 yards. 

RELATED: REDSKINS-PACKERS WEEK 2 PRESEASON MUST-SEE PHOTOS

"I just got the first game under my belt. First game jitters always going to happen. Once I got that out of the way I got to settle in," Perine said (full video above). "I got to go out and have fun."

More importantly, Perine didn't make the same mistakes the Redskins saw in Baltimore. He held onto the ball, made an impressive catch, and while pass protection will still take some work, he made tremendous strides from the first game. 

"The first game everything was going 100 miles-per-hour," he said of the difference between Week 1 to Week 2. "Once I got a chance to actually reevaluate, and slow things down, it just became football."

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden noticed the difference in Perine's play as well. 

RELATED: FIVE BIG TAKEAWAYS FROM REDSKINS' 21-17 LOSS VS. PACKERS

"I think there was a major step up and I expected that from Samaje," the coach said. "He’s the type of guy that I figured would bounce back. I’m glad to see him play so hard, so well."

The Redskins first-team offense again struggled to run the ball. Rob Kelley doesn't seem to be doing much wrong, as holes and running lanes have not been present with the top unit on the field, but his stats through two games are paltry (12 rushes, 11 yards). 

Perine might eventually push Kelley for carries, but that won't be the case at least early in the season. More performances like the game against Green Bay could possibly accelrate that timeline. 

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